Girl Abducted for Marriage in Southern Georgia Returned to her Parents’ House

After being abducted from her home for marriage on January 10, a 20-year-old girl has been returned to her parents’ house. The abduction took place in a village of the Bolnisi Municipality in the southern Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia.  

Meriting a prison sentence of up to four years, an investigation has been launched against the alleged aggressor for “illegal deprivation of liberty”. According to Radio Marneuli, the local community radio station, the perpetrator has been identified. 

Radio Marneuli reported that, on the January 11, when the girl was brought home by her family, relatives of the alleged kidnapper paid the family a visit in the hopes of persuading them to drop their police complaint, offering that  the two marry to “settle the problem”.

A verbal and physical dispute is claimed to have ensued between the two families. Police were called to the scene, urging the kidnapper’s kin to leave, informing them of the illegality of their attempts to persuade the girl’s family to withdraw the complaint.  

Unsurprisingly, bride kidnapping, together with the popular practices of early marriages, have come under strong criticism from women’s rights groups across Georgia. Underage marriage was outlawed in its entirety in January 2017; until 2015, while the legal age was 18, couples could still get married at 16 pending the consent of the parents. 

According to a report by Georgia’s Public Defender published in May 2017, underage marriage remains a significant issue faced by women across the country. According to the official records, while the number of these marriages did decrease from 611 to 5 between 2015 and 2016, the number of under-18 engagements has risen and the “implementation of a response to actual cohabitation remains a problem to be addressed”.  

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By Máté Földi 

15 January 2018 17:56